It’s easier to accept credit cards on your website than you think

Whenever I’m asked to provide a quote for any kind of e-commerce website, whether it be an actual online shop with physical products, a subscription membership site, or just a simple payment page (like ours) for paying invoices, the first question I always ask is this:

What payment methods do you want to accept?

And the number one answer I get is PayPal. The reason everyone says PayPal is because they are familiar with it and they know most shopping carts are already set up to take PayPal and because they believe that taking credit cards right on your website is more expensive than taking PayPal. I have some news for you.

It’s not more expensive to take credit cards.

“Wait a minute,” you might be saying. “PayPal allows people to take credit cards, so if I use it, I am allowing credit cards.” And yes, this is technically true, but unless you are using PayPal Payments Pro, and almost no one who we work with is, your users have to jump from your website to PayPal to make that payment. If your user already uses PayPal, then that jump is no big deal and they’ll probably continue and finish the payment. But if your user doesn’t already use PayPal, then they may be hesitant to continue on with that transaction.

“But they can checkout without creating an account!” you may say. This is true. They can. But will they?

Don’t get me wrong. I love PayPal. I use it all the time, we ourselves accept payments on it. But if you are doing any kind of e-commerce, I strongly recommend you also consider adding a payment gateway that allows people to pay you right on your site, without jumping to PayPal.

Accept Credit Cards

Common misconceptions about accepting credit cards

MYTH: It’s more expensive to take credit cards than PayPal.

TRUTH: Different payment gateways have different fees and can vary significantly, and you can get good volume discounts if you run a lot of transactions. However, compare the rate of PayPal with a few other notable payment gateways.

Payment Gateway Rates Monthly Fee
PayPal Standard 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction $0
PayPal Payments Pro 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction $30
Stripe 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction $0
Authorize.net 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction $25

See anything interesting? That’s right, the rate is identical in all four options. You may be able to negotiate a better rate if you have a high volume of transactions, but expect to have to do tens of thousands of dollars in transactions per month in order to get a better rate.


MYTH: It’s not secure to accept credit cards on your website.

TRUTH: Accepting credit cards on your site is safe and secure if you use good software, good hosting, have an SSL installed, and use a PCI compliant payment gateway like Stripe. Credit card numbers are never stored on your website or in your database, but are transferred to your payment gateway via a secure connection.


MYTH: It’s more complicated to set accept credit cards.

TRUTH: Not really. (And definitely not if you have hired help like me.) When using PayPal on your website, it mostly involves adding in your email address and checking a box, so it’s pretty easy. But if you’re using a payment gateway like Stripe, after setting up the account, it really only takes adding some API keys to your shopping cart, so it’s not a lot harder than copy and paste.


I am not bashing PayPal. I love it and use it. I recommend you offer at least two payment options on your website. When it comes to online sales, the transaction isn’t about what’s easiest for you, the seller. It’s about what’s easiest for your customer. What will make them more likely to finish the transaction? Give them the options they want, not the options you want.

Still not sure how to do it? Don’t worry, we can help! If you want e-commerce on your website, we know how to make it happen and can make recommendations and help you along the way. Contact us today for a quote.

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Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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